In this weekend’s Gospel, we hear Jesus say “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.”
As someone who doesn’t have much experience with gardening, I will admit that seeing the results of pruning a plant can be somewhat traumatic. I remember one particular instance my first year in Seminary, when the magnificent rose bushes at the entrance to the seminary grounds were pruned back to almost nothing. I remember thinking “it’s so sad that they cut them back so much- they just won’t look the same!” So you can imagine my surprise when they quickly grew back to be just as magnificent as they were before.
The thing is, if that work of pruning hadn’t taken place, the roses would not have looked nearly as magnificent, simply because the rose Bush would not have been able to sustain new growth in the same way if it hadn’t been pruned.
So it is with us: in this Gospel Jesus reminds us that we need to allow God to prune us- to cut away those areas that keep us from bearing fruit in abundance, so that we might grow and flourish as Children of God. This can be a painful process at times, but the reward of new growth in holiness is well worth it!
As we begin this Month of May, Pope Francis has called for a Marathon of Prayer for the end of the COVID-19 Pandemic. In this Month of May, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, prayers will be offered in Marian Shrines throughout the world to fulfill the Pope’s request. We encourage you to join in this prayer. We will post more information on this in a separate post.
I also want to take this opportunity to make you aware of a couple of staffing changes in our Family of Parishes. Natalie Steiner, who has served as the Coordinator of our Assumption Cares Outreach Ministry, has recently stepped down from this role, which she has held for the past year. I want to thank Natalie for her hard work in this role, and for making the work of Assumption Cares thrive, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Natalie, know that we are deeply grateful for all of your hard work. You will be missed as a member of our staff!
I am pleased to welcome Laura Soulliere to the role of Outreach Coordinator. Laura brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience that will enable us to keep building our outreach programs. We will formally commission Laura at our Virtual Mass on Sunday, and I look forward to giving her the opportunity to introduce herself to the members of our Family of Parishes very soon. Welcome Laura!
May the Lord continue to bless each of you, and keep you safe.
In Christ,Fr. Steven Huber, CSB